Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Cycle Parking - how much space?

We are all familiar with poor cycle parking. Last Sunday I tried to park my bicycle in the stands at the Draycote Water cafe only to find that the metalwork crushed my spokes. A few weeks before I had difficulty using the stands outside Warwick University's School of Law; they were too close together.

Standards for cycle parking have been established, for those who are bothered to look, as an alternative of just plumping for the "cheapest is always best" option.

With standards in mind, I examined a planning application to build a five storey student accommodation block on the site of the Aylesford Intermediate Care Centre in Hillfields (Reference: FUL/2016/0193).

The block is about a mile from Coventry's University Square, so cycling would be a credible alternative to walking.
The site is marked in red.

My comments:

The plans do not provide enough space to meet the promised bicycle parking capacity.

The Site Plan shows two cycle parking areas. One of 16 square metres and the other of 32 square metres. According to Transport for London, Sheffield Stand type bicycle parking uses 1.4 square metres per bicycle. With that technology, the space is adequate for no more than 34 bicycles. Higher capacity bicycle storage is available and according to a distributor, two tier bicycle racks can increase the number of bicycles parked by up to 50%. That would be enable a maximum of 51 bicycles to be parked in the spaces. Far less than the 120 promised in the Design and Access Statement.

The developer needs to make a more convincing case that their plans can accommodate 120 bicycles. Allowance must be made for bicycle manoeuvring in front of the racks. Two tier racks can be difficult for some types of user and can be unsafe unless fitted strictly in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

As the storage is long-term it must have high levels of security (key access).

Furthermore, if the reserved space is only sufficient should the highest capacity system be employed, there will be no room for expansion should the proportion of tenants owning bicycles rise above the initial estimate. The development is a mile from the centre of Coventry University, far enough for cycling to have definite advantages over walking.

I understand that where high capacity cycle parking is needed, the Dutch use staggered stands:
Guides are used to raise the front wheel of each alternate bicycle, so that the handlebars are clear of their neighbours'. Simple, yet effective.

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